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2015 Lexus RX 350

$40,970 to $50,220
18 City - 25 Hwy

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Changes for the 2015 Lexus RX:

Lexus makes minor changes to its popular midsize luxury crossover SUV. A new touchscreen audio system is standard, option packages are shuffled, a new 19-inch split-spoke wheel option is added, and LED headlights and LED fog lights are now available. The RX 350 F Sport is offered with a new Cabernet leather color.

Model Lineup:

There are three different versions of the Lexus RX from which to choose. The RX 350 is the most popular model, the RX 350 F Sport is the sporty model, and the RX 450h is the hybrid model. Each is designed to carry five passengers.

Engines and Transmissions:

A 3.5-liter V-6 engine making 270 horsepower is standard equipment for the RX 350 and RX 350 F Sport. In the former, it delivers power to the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. In the latter, an 8-speed automatic transmission puts the power to all four wheels through what Lexus refers to as an All-Weather Drive system.

The RX 450h is a gas-electric hybrid model combining a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, an electric assist motor, a nickel-metal hydride battery, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The RX 450h is rated to make a combined 295 horsepower. All-Weather Drive is an option.

Fuel Economy Ratings:

Select the Lexus RX 450h, and you’ll get much better gas mileage. With front-wheel drive, the RX 450h returns 30 mpg in combined driving according to the EPA. Add AWD, and the fuel economy estimate is 29 mpg.

If you’d rather not pay the premium for the hybrid model, the RX 350 with FWD is rated 21 mpg while the AWD version gets 20 mpg. Choose the RX 350 F Sport, which includes AWD as standard equipment, and the fuel economy rating is 21 mpg thanks to this version’s 8-speed automatic transmission. Why Lexus doesn’t make the 8-speed automatic standard on all models is a mystery.

Safety Ratings:

As this summary was written, the NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) had not published official crash-test ratings for the 2015 Lexus RX.

Last year, the identical vehicle earned top ratings in IIHS testing, though it had not been subjected to the new small overlap frontal-impact test. The NHTSA gave the RX with AWD a 5-star overall crash-test rating, while models with FWD earned a 4-star rating.

Technology Highlights:

For 2015, a new Display Audio system with a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, HD Radio, satellite radio, and a reversing camera is standard for the RX. The RX is also equipped with standard limited-time subscription to Safety Connect telematics, which offers Automatic Collision Notification service to automatically speed rescuers to the scene following an accident.

Buyers can upgrade to Lexus Enform services, a navigation system, a premium audio system, a rear-seat entertainment system, a heads-up display, an Intuitive Parking Assist system, a blind-spot monitoring system, and a Pre-Collision system with Pre-Collision Braking.

Written by Christian Wardlaw

June 2, 2014